Q&A: Rawan Albina: “The loudest people are the ones who get ahead”

Author: Kirsty Tuxford | Date: 27 Jan 2016

Dubai-based professional executive and leadership coach explains why personal branding is vital for advancing your career

Rawan AlbinaWorking conscientiously is not enough to help you get ahead in your career. Rawan Albina PCC, CPCC has spent years teaching talent how to market itself and get noticed in the workplace. She talks to People Management about how to create an effective personal brand.

What is personal branding and why is it necessary for career advancement?
Personal branding is the ability to present your unique values and attributes in a distinct way that conveys your identity as a leader. Defining a personal brand ensures that you are in control of the way others perceive you. When your personal brand is consistent, others know that yours is a brand they can trust, which raises your profile as a leader and gives you an advantage in office politics.
 
Many of the clients I work with believe that their hard work will speak for their value and make them seen. The reality in the workplace is that the loudest people, who know how to market and sell themselves are the ones who get ahead regardless of how hard they work. According to Marshall Goldsmith, a world-renowned leadership coach and author, people are passed on for promotion for two main reasons; the first being “the lack of an equally perceived leadership brand” followed by “no replacement or successor.”
 
Many career-focused workers use social media to boost their relevance. Isn't there more to building a personal brand than just self-promotion?
Building a personal brand comes with the establishment of thought leadership and the communication of your brand essence. Once you know what your brand stands for and who your best target audience is, your communication whether verbal or written will be a reflection of your brand. Building a personal brand is about being true to yourself, putting your best attributes forward and making sure others see them. Self-promotion is a by-product of a well-established personal brand. People who see you and talk to you every day, experience your personal brand.
 
However, organisations today are more global and have matrix reporting systems, so make sure you are heard and seen by others who matter in your organisation. Contribute to your organisation’s newsletters, be active on social media and reach others who may be interested in what you have to say. This is the key to establishing thought leadership, which goes hand-in-hand with a successful personal brand.
 
How should people define their own personal brand and ensure that they can live it?
It starts with connecting with your values and looking at the blueprint that makes up who you are. Ask others in your professional and social networks to describe you using three adjectives. These adjectives are your brand attributes. Look for how many similar adjectives are used and how many different ones are given. This mini survey will show you where your brand stands today, how consistent it is based on how many similar adjectives you find, and how you need to reposition your brand if required. Would you benefit from bringing some of the brand attributes/adjectives used by your friends and family into the workplace? Maybe 'fun' is one of the attributes that you believe you need to keep out of your work environment. Imagine how the 'fun' element would impact your relationship with your peers or other stakeholders.
 
Re-positioning your personal brand for your next career level doesn’t mean losing who you really are. Successful personal brands are authentic brands. The idea is not for everyone to be able to relate to you and really connect with your brand, but for them to perceive you as you want them to.